Keeping Busyness In Check

I like being busy.  Not busy just for the sake of being busy, but busy doing things that are meaningful and fulfilling.  To me, life is more fun when our days are full of activities that give us purpose.  However, it’s crucial that we remember to make time for those important things that can easily get lost or overlooked in the midst of our day-to-day busyness.

Some important things are extremely easy to put off because of how busy we are.  Consider how easy it is to tell ourselves, “When I’m not so busy I need to:”

  • Make time to connect with my friend…
  • Schedule that annual checkup or routine medical screening
  • Start exercising daily
  • Begin saving for the future
  • Make some healthy changes to my diet
  • Pursue that goal or dream of mine

Our intentions are to do these important things, but the reality is that they often get forgotten or pushed out because we are busy.  The reality is also that putting off these things could have significant negative consequences if they are neglected too long.  Those consequences could be things like:

  • The drifting a part of a once great friendship
  • A once easily preventable/treatable condition has turned into a full blown medical emergency
  • Our health has deteriorated
  • Our lifestyle will drastically change, because we don’t have the resources we need for the future
  • Our goals and dream go unrealized

All because we are too busy to address them today.

Let’s make sure we’re not being so busy today that we neglect the things that will lead to a fulfilling and healthy future.

Advertisements

Get This Decision Right

Many of the choices we make don’t require a great deal of thought. For example deciding what you’re going to wear today, what you’re having for dinner, or where you want to go on vacation this year, while important, are not life changing decisions. If, in fact, you do make a bad decision in one of these areas, the consequences are pretty insignificant. (Your life isn’t going to change a great deal if you had chicken for dinner instead of salmon!) However, for those decisions where the stakes are much higher, we must make sure we’ve gathered sufficient information and given ample thought to our decision before we pull the trigger.

One of the most important decisions we make is the primary person we decide to do life with. Whether it’s a spouse, a life partner, or significant other, this person will have a very substantial role and impact in our life. As such, this type of relationship should be entered into slowly. Only after we’ve gathered significant experiences and information about the other person are we about to make a good decision.

If you’re currently in the process of making this decision about someone, before you decide, you should have answers to the following questions:

  • Do you know what your own goals and dreams are and what you, specifically, want out of life?
  • What are the other person’s goals and expectations from life? Do they align with yours?
  • What are the non-negotiable character traits and attributes you’re looking for in another person?
  • What are the non-negotiable character traits you are unwilling to settle for in another person?
  • How does this person align with the previous 2 questions?
  • No, really! How do they align?
  • What’s their worldview and outlook on life?
  • How does the other person handle conflict?
  • How do they handle money?
  • How do they treat other people?
  • How do they treat you?
  • How do they respond when life gets tough?
  • What guides them in how they make decisions and live their life?

The only way you will get answers to these questions is through conversation and time together. Lots of time together, so don’t be in a big hurry. The questions above are a list you can check off in a weekend, a week, or month. To really answer these questions, I think it’s important to observe someone for at least a year, if not longer.

Nothing will affect the quality of your life more that the primary person you decide to do life with, so spend the time to seriously answer these questions, lest you rush into a bad decision.

Putting Compounding To Work

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. Those who understand it, earn it… those who don’t… pay it.”  ~ Albert Einstein

When we invest money, the interest we earn on that money also earns interest for us.  Over years of consistent investing, the interest-earning-interest can wind up being a significant sum.  While we might not see big results right away, the impact of compounding will soon become significant. This is the concept of compounding interest.

Here’s thing about compounding that most people don’t realize… it’s just as effective in other areas of life beyond finance.

The healthy habits we intentionally develop, and continue to practice year over year, yield desired results.

  • A healthy diet yields good health
  • Healthy spending habits yield control over your finances
  • Healthy saving and investing habits yield financial freedom
  • Continuous learning exposes you to new ideas and fresh perspectives

Here’s one more thing most people may not realize about compounding… it can also work against you.  Compounding is not limited to yielding increasingly good results.  Our bad habits, practiced year over year, can unintentionally yield undesirable results.

  • A bad diet yields poor health
  • Poor spending habits yields a consistent lack of money and debt
  • Failure to save and invest yields financial insecurity and potentially poverty
  • Deciding not to learn lead to becoming stagnant, outdated, and irrelevant

The most important thing we can know about compounding is that it will do its work in our life whether we invite it to or not.  The most important thing we can do with regard to compounding it to make sure we’re putting it to work for us.

ACTION:  Develop and regularly practice the habits that will compound to bring you the results you seek.

Giving Attention

Here’s a quick mental exercise. See if you can think of an area of your life that gets better instead of worse as a result of being neglected. Here my attempt at a list and whether or not these areas get better when neglected:

  • Relationships – No
  • Health – No
  • Finances – No
  • Career – No
  • Family – No
  • Personal development – No
  • Possessions – No
  • Outlook on life – No
  • A garden of wild weed – Yes

Most areas of our life don’t get better as a result of neglect, they usually get worse. I know, that’s obvious, but here’s what may not be so obvious. While we may not intentionally decide to neglect an important area of our life, neglect is what happens when we fail to give something our attention.

To make something better, or to at least keep it good, requires our effort and attention. With so many things clamoring for our attention it’s essential that we purposefully give attention to those important areas of our life, lest they be unintentionally neglected.

A Post Election Reminder

The 2018 mid-term elections are over (thank goodness!). While I don’t know whether you’re happy with the results or not, I do want to make you aware of a very important person who is still in power… YOU.

YOU are the person with the power to create the life you desire. No political party, or person in office has more power to positively impact your life than YOU do.

So no matter who “won” politically as a result of the election, YOU still retain power over yourself and your choices.

Let’s use that power wisely.

Unexpected Opportunities

On Thursday my wife sent me an email letting me know that my mom was having some people over for dinner that night. One of the people attending was a person from Guatemala that my mom thought my wife and I would be interested in meeting, so she invited us to join them for dinner. My initial thought was to say no for a bunch of lame reasons, (it’s been a long week, I’ve got stuff to do, blah, blah, blah). Fortunately for me, my brain saw this as an unexpected opportunity that I shouldn’t pass up.

I’m always interested in meeting folks and hearing some of their story (everyone has a story!!), especially if they come from a different background, country, or culture than I do. The person from Guatemala is the daughter of a pastor, who happens to lead a Guatemalan church in the same denomination as the church we attend. Already had some common ground for good conversation! So I emailed my wife back and told her to let my mom know we’d be there for dinner.

An unexpected opportunity to meet someone different from me lands in my lap on Thursday and I was about to say, “No”. What would I gain by staying home, except for some free time? As I thought about it, I realized that I get a lot more opportunities for free time than I do to meet an interesting person with a common interest.

This experience reminded me that I’m trying to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. It’s too easy to automatically settle for our routine and, as a result, let these unexpected opportunities go by. That’s a great way to maintain a routine, but it’s no way to live an exciting life.

The dinner and the conversation on Thursday was a lot of fun! I’m so glad that I went and didn’t settle for the perceived comfort of my routine. There is a lot that happens when we step outside of our routines.

Several Little Things

We’ve all seen stories about people who achieve a remarkable feat like living to 100 years of age, being married over 50 years, building a successful business, or a number of other worthy accomplishments. Invariably, these people are asked, “So what’s the secret of your success? What did you do to achieve what you have?” Usually people respond with one or two things that they attribute to their success.

I don’t think that’s quite accurate. Very rarely is success achieved by doing just 1 thing. Success in any venture is often the result of consistently doing several little things.

Here’s what got me thinking about this…

Earlier this week I went to see the doctor for my annual physical (Good times!!). Everything looked good and my doctor told me I was doing a good job with regard to my health. At one point he asked me what I do to maintain good health. I responded with something like exercise and drink water. After I left the doctor’s office I realized that good health is achieved by more than just exercise. In addition, it’s important to also:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Get the proper amount of sleep every night
  • Avoid excess sugar consumption
  • Fill your mind with positive content
  • Reduce wasting significant time with your face buried in a computer/phone screen
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Spend time with people who charge you up
  • Spend time reading instead of watching TV
  • Continually learn new skills
  • Regularly get out of your comfort zone
  • Do some physical activity every day

And that’s just the start!

It’s not just one thing that causes people to be successful. It’s the discipline to consistently do the little things that move you toward success.

Is there something you’d like to achieve in your life? If so, the best way to make progress is to consistently do the little things that seem to have no immediate impact. Begin doing those little things as part of your daily routine and you’ll be amazed at the progress you can make in a month, year, decade, or lifetime.